Back in August 2016 I wanted to try and build a Ceph cluster. A the time one of the only Single Board Computer (SBC) with a SATA port was the Banana PI.
I bought a few 3tb hard drives (2.5 inch), 4 Banana PI machines and some Odroid C2 machines to use as controllers.
It was very easy to setup the Ceph cluster, but the performance was terrible. For Ceph to work you really need a high speed back channel for machines to replicate between.
I deployed the hardware for other purposes and called the experiment a failure.
Today I found this post on reddit. Turns out Hardkernel has released a machine called Odroid-HC2. It integrated a SBC with passive cooling and the ability to directly connect a 3.5 inch drive up to 12tb.
The guy on reddit deployed glusterfs on 20 of them, apparently glusterfs does not use so much bandwidth to keep the cluster in sync. His performance numbers are impressive.
I’m not going to build out a cluster of these at this time, but it certainly looks like a fun project.